What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

How the Ivy League Might Reshape Education

May 6, 2010, 2:24 PM
Teacher

Having already pondered the Ivy League exodus from comedy to the White House, we try to dissect the direction Ivy League graduates may be going in with their degree in tow. A school’s reputation can certainly open some doors for graduates in the real world. But today’s biggest contributions from students pacing academia’s most-hallowed halls may be to the institution of education itself.

Some of that comes from the most-recent figures courtesy of the popular (and some may say controversial) Teach for America Program. A program that places the country’s best and brightest in understaffed and underfunded schools, Teach for America has seen a noticeable surge in applications from the Ivy League over the past few years. This year, an impressive 17 percent of Harvard’s graduating class has applied to the program, the highest figure of any school in the country. Yale boasted a 16-percent figure with 13 percent of Brown’s 2010 class applying. While not all Ivy Leaguers have ultimately continued as teachers after completing Teach for America, the Ivy League does appear to be making major contributions to America’s lagging education system.

Recently, the Knowledge is Power program, cited by the Obama administration after being founded by two Ivy Leaguers in a single Houston classroom, is the biggest charter school operator in the country, serving minority and poor children in almost 20 states. Sure, it’s surprising to see some Ivy Leaguers turning to high schools in a world that doesn’t necessarily fete them with job offers the way it used to. But Ivy League education programs are also reshaping the way future schools might teach.

Last year, Harvard introduced a new Doctoral of Education Leadership program looking to “effect major changes in K-12 education.” This year, Harvard hosted an innovative convention to discuss digital teaching platforms in elementary, middle, and secondary education. All this, not to mention the Teach for America surge, comes on the heels of recent “reflection seminars” looking to lead Harvard students as they approached the professional world.

With Ivy Leaguers giving teaching a try in all corners of the globe, America’s most-heralded academic institutions are putting far greater emphasis on teaching in a realm where research has long been king. Of course, not everyone considers Ivy Leaguers qualified to teach in some of the country’s most underserved schools. But in a world where teaching jobs are becoming increasingly attractive among America’s best and brightest, Ivy Leaguers are even looking for teaching jobs on CraigsList. Five years after Columbia and Yale graduate teaching assistants went on strike, those pursuing education could be the new big men and women on campus.

 

How the Ivy League Might Re...

Newsletter: Share: